Urban Science

Integrated Theory from the First Cities to Sustainable Metropolises

+ Constantine Kontokosta


Urban science seeks to understand the fundamental processes that drive, shape and sustain cities and urbanization. It is a multi/transdisciplinary approach involving concepts, methods and research from the social, natural, engineering and computational sciences, along with the humanities. This report is intended to convey the current “state of the art” in urban science while also clearly indicating how urban science builds upon and complements (but does not replace) prior work on cities and urbanization in many other disciplines. The report does not aim at a fully comprehensive synopsis of work done under the rubric of “urban science” but it does aim to convey what makes urban science different from discipline-based examinations of cities and urbanization. It also highlights novel insights generated by the inherently multidisciplinary inquiry that urban science exemplifies. The authors of the report are all based in academic or research institutions but several of them are close to practice by virtue of collaboration with NGOs and community groups and engagement with policy. The authors also represent different academic disciplines and varied traditions of scientific inquiry. The report is meant to facilitate, and hopefully also provoke, discussion among the many stakeholders for whom a scientifically based, empirically rich, and historically deep understanding of cities and urbanization is not only intellectually compelling but also socially urgent and ethically pressing. We believe that the innovative scholarship constituting urban science can importantly provide scientific leadership to support meeting the urgent challenges of global sustainable development.


Authors: Lobo, Jose and Alberti, Marina and Allen-Dumas, Melissa and Arcaute, Elsa and Barthelemy, Marc and Bojorquez Tapia, Luis A. and Brail, Shauna and Bettencourt, Luis and Beukes, Anni and Chen, Wei‐Qiang and Florida, Richard and Gonzalez, Marta and Grimm, Nancy and Hamilton, Marcus and Kempes, Chris and Kontokosta, Constantine E. and Mellander, Charlotta and Neal, Zachary P. and Ortman, Scott and Pfeiffer, Deirdre and Price, Michael and Revi, Aromar and Rozenblat, Céline and Rybski, Diego and Siemiatycki, Matthew and Shutters, Shade T. and Smith, Michael E. and Stokes, Eleanor C. and Strumsky, Deborah and West, Geoffrey and White, Devin and Wu, Jingle and Yang, Vicky Chuqiao and York, Abigail and Youn, Hyejin


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Constantine E. Kontokosta, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning and Director of the Civic Analytics program at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management. He also directs the Urban Intelligence Lab and holds cross-appointments at the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and is affiliated faculty at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

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